Romney approaches the so-called third rail of American politics by offering two changes he said will extend the fiscal health of the program: raising the retirement age and means-testing for benefits. Social Security benefits should continue to grow, Romney said, but the growth should be smaller for higher-income retirees.
Both ideas, Romney said, "will not raise taxes and will not affect today's seniors or those nearing retirement."
Health care reform
Romney can't say often enough that he wants to get rid of "Obamacare." Although he signed a similar law when he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney said the federal law "takes what's broken in health care and makes it worse." Romney believes the law damages the economy by putting a job-killing, undue burden on businesses by penalizing those larger firms that don't insure their employees.
Some parts of the new law — such as the ban on denying insurance coverage based on preexisting conditions, the requirement that insurers allow children up to 26 to remain on their parents' policies and closing the Part D doughnut hole — are very popular, despite deep public divisions over the Affordable Care Act as a whole. Romney doesn't see the need for the under-26 requirement, noting that "the market is already responding to consumer preferences, and many insurance companies have announced plans to extend coverage for this group." Romney also said he wants to guarantee coverage to patients with preexisting conditions as long as they have had "continuous coverage."
Tax and legal reforms would result in lower costs, making health insurance more affordable to those without it, Romney said. He endorsed reforming medical malpractice liability, allowing people to cross state lines to buy health insurance, and encouraging small businesses to "band together to increase their negotiating power" when purchasing insurance. While Romney also favors increased spending for National Institutes of Health research, he wants Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and those with disabilities, to be block grants for states — a move he said would give them more flexibility. Romney spoke fondly of his time visiting ill friends as a minister in his church, and added, "I learned there that government is no substitute for community."